DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Brad And Wendell At Cottage View Drive-In

October 3, 2011 3:00 AM

dyr minn DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Brad And Wendell At Cottage View Drive In

“I hate the car dealer kind of stuff, so I walked in there with $10,000 in cash.”

The Ride
The Driver: Brad 
Car in Question: 2005 Honda Civic
Spotted at: Cottage View Drive-In, Cottage Grove, MN 55016
Odometer: 48,620
Car’s Nickname: The Honda


Q: How did you get end up with this car?

A: Before I bought this one, I was a classic $800 car guy. I loved to drive and take road trips, the stereotypical freedom. But the last few times I took long road trips in these junky cars, it turned into long odysseys with the car breaking down, and I ended up putting so much money into them. I had a good job at the time, so I went to the Honda dealership; I hate the car dealer kind of stuff, so I walked in there with $10,000 in cash and said to the guy, “I hope to walk out of here in less than 45 minutes with a new car. I’m going to give you this cash and finance the rest.”

Q: So what did he say? Was he biting?

A: He said, “Do you want to look at some models?” I said, “No I just want a good car.” In the book “Wise Blood” by Flanner O’Connor, Hazel Motes says, “Nobody with a good car needs to be justified.” That was my motto going in there. I just want a good car that runs. And I wanted it to play CDS. He said, “Well, here’s a such and such,“ and I just kept repeating, “I just want a good car that plays music.” He shows me this car and I said, “I’ll take that one.” He asked, “Do you want to drive it?” I said, “No I’ve driven cars before.” I had these thousand dollar bands of cash like a drug dealer and I plunked them down.

Q: And that’s where it all began. Where have you and your dog Wendell gone in this car?

A: We went to Vermont three times, spent three months in Montana, down to the Florida Panhandle twice to spend the winters. We’ve been to about 38 states. I never ever drive on interstate highways. I always try to take state and county roads and zigzag all over.

Q: When was the last time you were out on the road?

A: This is the longest stretch of my life that I have ever gone without a road trip. It’s been about a year. For two years we did nothing but travel. Wendell lives to get in the car. He gets really excited. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on, so Wendell has been sorely deprived of a road trip. He was happy today when we got in the car. He realized we weren’t just going to the Pump ‘N’ Munch.

Q: It sounds like you two have a long history with Highway 61.

A: I have taken it all the way down to Louisiana several times.

Q: Do you have a nickname for your car?

A: I just call it “The Honda.”

Q: What do you have in the trunk?

A: Boxes of wiffle balls and an original wood wiffle ball bat, a tent and sleeping bag, a hairbrush my mom gave me for Christmas, my own personal DVD copy of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” dog bowls, a jug of water, and three or four atlases.

Q: What are some of the CDs that you have in the car?

A: Lee “Scratch” Perry—The Singles CollectionTom Waits, and World’s Rarest Funk ‘45s.

Q: Finally, if your car were a person, what kind would it be?

A: It’s the opposite of me, the same quality I value in the people closest to me: really steady and reliable, and not flashy. I wanted a car that could get me there without any drama. There is nothing in my life that is practical, at all, except for this car.

Are you ready to Defend Your Ride? If so, email with “Defend Your Ride MN” in the subject line for submission details.

Photos and interview by Michelle Leon

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